CANADA – Another Alberta woman who arranged to buy a hairless cat online — but instead, received a carefully shaved regular kitten — says the apparent scam is cruel and abusive.
“It’s an unbelievable thing that someone would do this,” Holly Rattray stated.
She is the second person in the province to come forward in recent weeks with a story of being scammed by an online vendor purporting to sell sphynx kittens — a rare breed of feline that is naturally nearly hairless.
Rattray explained that she put an ad on Kijiji looking to purchase a hairless kitten and ended up communicating via email and later text message with someone who called himself Tim.
She then arranged to meet a friend of Tim’s, who would deliver the pet, in Red Deer.
Rattray stated that she made the nearly two-hour drive from her home near Bawlf, Alta., and met the contact in a parking lot.
The person seemed to be in a huge hurry, she said. Agreeing to take $550 instead of the originally asked $700, she quickly drove off, Rattray stated.
It wasn’t until later on that she was able to fully inspect the female kitten, which had wounds all over its body that Rattray now believes were nicks from a razor blade.
“We basically just had this kitten thrown at us that was totally, like, mutilated and sliced up,” she stated.
“When I look back at the photos, I honestly do not know how this cat survived.”
At the time, however, Rattray remained incredulous at the thought that someone might have shaved a kitten so thoroughly.
Having already fostered a sphynx cat in the past, she said she had her suspicions because the breed can have some bits of hair on the tail and also near the feet.
However, this cat was “literally hairless.”
“Even underneath its legs, it was so clean-shaven that my husband did question it,” she stated.
“But my husband was like, ‘There is no way, honey, that someone could have shaved a cat this good.'”
Since she bought the kitten back on Oct. 29 its wounds have healed and it has started to grow fur. She has named it Stripes.
Rattray stated she later contacted Red Deer resident JoAnne Dyck after seeing her posts on Facebook about being scammed in quite a similar way.
Dyck also purchased a cat she named Vlad under similar circumstances but sold it just days afterward because she said it was having so much trouble getting along with her older cat.
Shaniya Yung bought Vlad and explained that she “knew that there was something wrong with it,” but wasn’t sure exactly what.
“For two or three days, it still seemed like it could be a hairless cat, but then it started growing more and more and more hair and whiskers and hair in the ears and things like that,” Yung stated.
She noted that she was “shocked” at how thoroughly the kitten had been shaved and so was her veterinarian.
“She said in 15 years of being a vet, she’d never seen anything like this before,” Yung stated.
“They did that good of a job. It was insane. They took the hair out of his ears; they took his whiskers right off. He had nothing left.”
She stated Vlad had some nicks on his body and an infected cut on his tail but has since made a full recovery.
“He’s playful and everything,” she stated. “When I first got him, he just sat with his head down, scared, and shook for 24 hours, basically. He’s a completely different cat.”
Rattray, in the meantime, said her kitten has not just grown hair but has also grown to become “a part of our family.”
“It’s great to have her,” she said. “We wouldn’t have it any other way now.”
She states she’s considering reporting the scam to the RCMP and SPCA, but that wasn’t something that immediately occurred to her.
“I do work full-time and, honestly, I just haven’t had the time to report anything yet,” she stated.
“And right now, we’re just kind of taking solace in the fact that we did save a life and that is what I’m telling my daughter. God blessed us with a different kitty, and that’s OK.
“But it is confusing, obviously, to a five-year-old, and you don’t really know how to explain to a child that this kind of abuse and this kind of neglect does happen.”